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Converb and aspect-marking polysemy in Nar*

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Abstract

This analysis responds to Michael Noonan&#8217;s call to embrace the messiness and complexities of grammar found in natural language use, continuing the tradition of undertaking rich, deep investigations of a critically endangered, under-documented language (Nar, Tibeto-Burman, Nepal). It is an examination of the polysemy between a set of non-finite and finite markers in Nar. This paper revises Noonan&#8217;s labeling to better reflect their distribution in varied contexts. Non-finite <i>-ce</i> is analyzed as a perfective converb and <i>-te</i> is an imperfective converb, as demonstrated via syntactic and semantic properties. In final position, <i>-ce</i> is a gnomic perfective aspect marker and final <i>-te</i> is a general imperfective aspect marker. These labels more accurately reflect their situational and temporal semantics.

References

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